Uri aftermath: India whips up war hysteria

Published: September 23, 2016

KARACHI: India is caught up in a tidal wave of war hysteria, shaped in part by the macho posturing of its political and military leaders and fired up the wild imagination of its jingoistic media. Saner voices, though a few, are being drowned in the cacophony of belligerent frenzy.

The sabre-rattling began after militants mounted a deadly attack on an Indian military base in Uri, in the disputed Kashmir state on Sunday. New Delhi jumped the gun, blamed Pakistan for the assault and started making menacing statements.

Indian army moves heavy artillery guns along LoC

Going a step further on Thursday, the Indian army moved heavy artillery to forward bases along the 778-kilometre Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. Indian military officials confirmed to BBC Urdu that large-calibre guns, including Bofors, have been deployed at forward positions in the region to target Pakistani defences. Indian military sources added they were not preparing for war but the latest exercises were carried out “to preempt any assault in future”.

“The army continues to upgrade its operational readiness all along the LoC, with redeployment of troops and some forward movement of ammunition and fuel dumps,” Times of India (ToI) newspaper reported.

Though officials in Islamabad don’t see an imminent threat of war, Pakistani fighter jets have been conducting high-profile landing and take-off exercises on motorways for the past two days. “The defenders of our skies in a state of constant readiness, Alhamdolillah. Our motorways are our runways,” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif wrote on his official Twitter handle.

Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria played down the media hype about the ‘routine exercises’ but said the armed forces and the entire nation of Pakistan remain ready to defend country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity at all costs.

According to BBC Urdu, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent Thursday at a military operation room where he monitored the Indian army’s movement along the LoC.

Lahore-Islamabad motorway closed for ‘routine’ PAF drill amid India tension

“There have been other top-level meetings over the last two days, including with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, to discuss the operational situation along the LoC, as well as the military options,” TOI quoted a source as saying.

Hawkish Indian officials have been talking about covert or overt strikes in Pakistan. And TOI reported that India’s options range from concentrated firepower assaults with 155mm artillery guns, Smerch rockets and BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to ‘surgical air strikes’ by fighter jets to take out alleged terror camps through precision-guided munitions.

India has a history of knee-jerk reactions to every terrorist attack on its soil. In December 2001 when militants laid a siege to Indian parliament, New Delhi blamed Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group and massed troops along the LoC in an operation, codenamed Parakram, triggering fears of an all-out war.

Notwithstanding India’s aggressive posturing, a strategic assessment of Pakistani security agencies says chances of military adventurism are thin. “Although a lot is being said in the Indian media, our assessment is that there is no indication as yet that India is planning any sort of attack against Pakistan,” a top military official, who was briefed about the latest assessment by intelligence agencies, told The Express Tribune.

Pakistani officials say the consequences of any form of attack from India could be far worse than people realise on both side of the border. “Despite jingoism and sabre-rattling, India will think twice before launching any attack against Pakistan,” the official added while speaking on the condition of anonymity.

India incapable of waging war on Pakistan, experts say

However, while India is thickening its aggressive posture along the LoC, Pakistan too has shored up its border defences, including reinforcing its artillery positions. The official who spoke to The Express Tribune made it clear that Pakistan’s armed forces were on ‘high alert’ to respond to any eventuality.

On Wednesday, authorities imposed ‘airspace restrictions’ and cancelled all flights to Gilgit-Baltistan. Sections of motorway near Peshawar and Lahore were also closed to traffic to allow Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jets practice landing and take-off. On Thursday too, PAF closed Lahore-Peshawar motorway in what it said was routine training not related to heightened tension.

India Today picked a tweet of a Pakistani journalist to stir up war hysteria. “A journalist in Pakistan has tweeted about the presence of a group of fighter jets flying over Islamabad,” it reported. “Twitter has been flooded with many panic posts mentioning the presence on F-16 fighter jets roaring in the skies.”

Fear is such in India that the Western Naval Command sounded the highest state of alert along the Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Raigad coasts in Maharashtra after reports of suspicious movement of an armed group in Uran.

A navy spokesperson said that keeping in mind the current situation, no alert can be taken lightly. “Our helicopters are making sorties at and around Uran,” he said.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr Maleeha Lodhi said on Thursday that Pakistan would not be drawn into the war talk. “India has been beating the war drum in response to the diplomatic pressure (on prevailing rights human situation in Kashmir). We don’t think any such threat of war is imminent. Any such notion between two nuclear powers will be irrational,” she told a private TV channel.

Dr Lodhi said Pakistan never desired to escalate the situation rather always desired to resolve the issues peacefully. She said as next step Pakistan would approach the members of the UN Security Council, though a dossier had already been presented to the UN Secretary General on Kashmir situation.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2016.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • سے Shaam (Hanafi)
    Sep 23, 2016 - 9:15AM

    War is highly unlikely unless Pakistan does something stupid, which they are ever ready off…God forbid if there’s a war, Pakistan will disintegrate very badly worse than any other nation be it Afghanistan,Iraq,Syria,Yemen or Libya. But, I don’t think so, World will keep quite, they will leash in Pakistan for sure…Recommend

  • Sam
    Sep 23, 2016 - 9:19AM

    Pakistan has this habit of nuclear-blackmail, India should teach them a lesson. Nobody in the world is going to cry about it. Recommend

  • Hakim Afghani
    Sep 23, 2016 - 9:20AM

    No idea what’s all these news about but lets be honest – Pakistan is not a match at war against India at no level. It’s super clear and everyone knows Where India military level is and where Pakistani military level stands.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Sep 23, 2016 - 9:30AM

    Delusions of a limited war are very risky!
    “Limited” wars can quickly spiral out of control seriously harming both countries!Recommend

  • Ali
    Sep 23, 2016 - 9:52AM

    As Quaid E Azam said, there is no power on earth that can undo Pakistan. It is here to stay.

    Our defence is impregnable.Recommend

  • PrasadDeccani
    Sep 23, 2016 - 9:53AM


    What was Kargil incursion about? You wanted to have a limited war at that time. Why is it a bad idea now?Recommend

  • Rajesh
    Sep 23, 2016 - 9:54AM

    Please also mention dossiers submitted to UN was dismissed.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Sep 23, 2016 - 10:02AM

    From here on India is unlikely to be in reaction mode like under earlier dispensations. It will move slowly and surely keeping clear goals in mind in a calibrated fashion that encompasses diplomatic, economic, military, trade and water components. The squeeze will be felt not in an instant but over weeks, months and years. We are not talking about a moment of pain like in an terror incident but a squeezing of breadth over a lifetime. The strategy of intimidation and provocation orchestrated by Pakistan, will definitely bear plentiful fruit. Recommend

  • Fahad
    Sep 23, 2016 - 10:10AM

    the consequences of any form of
    attack from India could be far worse
    than people realise on both side of
    the border.


  • Pakistani
    Sep 23, 2016 - 10:24AM

    @hakim Afghani. yeah we know the difference bro. :-)
    That’s why our nation is very relax.
    We don’t want war. Because we want to live in peace. But it’s not our weakness. We can defend our Sovereignty and can damage equal or more to our enemy. Recommend

  • Truth
    Sep 23, 2016 - 10:24AM

    India should reach a diplomatic solution with Pakistan as a military solution won’t work and isn’t feasible for India or Pakistan. India thinks it’s China’s rival but India’s GDP per capita is only 1.2x greater than Pakistan’s. While China’s GDP per capita is 4x that of India’s. India simply doesn’t have the resources to engage Pakistan’s militarily in any meaningful manner.Recommend

  • salman
    Sep 23, 2016 - 10:25AM

    Ohh that self claimed supa powa India with all his might still thinking twice rather thrice before attacking Pakistan. Any strike from Indians will have same equal equal reaction from Pakistan side. And for the Afghanis and Indians, posting with Pakistani names, on this forum, rest assured Pakistan is not Burma or Palestine. Brace yourself for major embarrassment in case of an attack.Recommend

  • Zain
    Sep 23, 2016 - 10:34AM

    @Hakim Afghani – appraising your new master’s now? Do Pakistan a favour, and take your fellow refugees from here. Please go and settle in India (AKA the biggest economy by some Indians),and leave us alone. Oh hold on, your fellow Indians don’t like to stay in their own country either, but still so much chest thumping from trollers here. Recommend

  • Ven
    Sep 23, 2016 - 10:41AM

    There is one power and that is Pakistan itself…and that is the reality @Ali:Recommend

  • web
    Sep 23, 2016 - 10:48AM

    If Pakistan Army is of no match match with Indian Army why Modi has not ordered yet to march on Pakistan. The limited war will lead to unlimited destruction and Modi Government knows the consequences.Recommend

  • Utpal
    Sep 23, 2016 - 10:50AM

    @Ali: Mr.Jinnah was not a future reader, Then how Bangladesh was formed? Recommend

  • Bali
    Sep 23, 2016 - 11:47AM

    Maybe you should’ve asked Quaid e Azam on his thoughts about Bangladesh.Recommend

  • hari
    Sep 23, 2016 - 11:54AM

    When that sod Jinnah said that there was an East Pakistan, i am checking the map now to see that! Oops Recommend

  • Backstreet boy
    Sep 23, 2016 - 12:08PM

    First para made me open dictionary. Recommend

  • Mouli
    Sep 23, 2016 - 12:23PM

    @Zain: “Oh hold on, your fellow Indians don’t like to stay in their own country either, but still so much chest thumping from trollers here”. Ok here we go:


  • Tyggar
    Sep 23, 2016 - 12:38PM

    That’s what you thought in 1971 when you attacked India for the third timeRecommend

  • Vectra
    Sep 23, 2016 - 1:15PM

    Vodafone pumps in $7.2 bn in India To take on Reliance Jio in single biggest FDIRecommend

  • Srinivasulu Mekala
    Sep 23, 2016 - 4:03PM

    The funny thing is, in this very paper, another article says India is incapable of retaliation. I wish all Pakistanis remain under the delusion that India will not retaliate. That kind of ego helps India a lot. Please keep bloating your ego. Please keep believing that you are a nuclear power. Very soon things will be seen in the right perspective. No harm will come to India if Pakistanis believe that India will not retaliate.Recommend

  • True Indian
    Sep 23, 2016 - 4:13PM

    Thanks pakis for kargil war, India not only took the peaks that were captured by militants but also took frw more that were occupied by pak army.
    No one in pak media wants to talk about it, but thanks for the gift. This time too we will take more territory that is rightfully ours. Last time we created Bangladesh, this time its not only going to be Balochistan but more disintegration of pak. Recommend

  • Furqan
    Sep 23, 2016 - 4:38PM

    @Hakim Afghani:
    Our military is strong enough to defend our country. And thanks to the india sponsored taliban our military is not idle anymore.. They are war trained and on the ground ready to battle. India should think twice before engaging Pakistan in a war as this is not AFGHANISTAN!!! or IRAQ!!! Recommend

  • Virkaul
    Sep 23, 2016 - 7:00PM

    Qaid was proved wrong in only 23 years of Pakistan’s formation. You have a habit of eulogising a human being.Recommend

  • IndianDude
    Sep 23, 2016 - 7:11PM

    “The defenders of our skies in a state of constant readiness, Alhamdolillah. Our motorways are our runways,”

    Even we die-hard Indians have to admit the Pakistani Air force is much better prepared than the Indian Air force. As unlike the Indian Air force, the Pakistani air force has years of experience due to using F-16s to bomb its own citizens.Recommend

  • cautious
    Sep 23, 2016 - 7:17PM

    India isn’t closing down commercial airspace to practice war games – isn’t closing down commercial roadways to practice landing fighter jets … that’s Pakistan. Looks like war hysteria isn’t limited to India. Recommend

  • LS
    Sep 23, 2016 - 9:42PM

    @Truth: Wow.. shows the sheepishness… You had to bring in China to guard your back… Shows… I would rather say learn to stand on your own feet.. don’t sit one someone’s lap all the time.. earlier it was US now China.. Remember 1.2 times 1.3 Billion is much more than 1.0 200 Million… Back to schoolRecommend

  • MS
    Sep 23, 2016 - 10:13PM

    What’s your problem? Our strategy, our decision, who are you to dictate us? @LS: Recommend

  • Mohd sultan
    Sep 24, 2016 - 9:00AM

    A lot of fanatics living on both sides,they have no brain,heart and eyes.they mere consider war a joke for their self and destruction for others.they don’t know that the fires don’t know that whom is whom and what is what.mere the destruction is waiting for both countries.Recommend

  • Nagendra
    Sep 25, 2016 - 11:59PM

    » Indian rupee historical exchange rate.
    GDP (Nominal) of India and Pakistan is $2050 billion and $250 billion respectively in 2014. On PPP basis, GDP of India and Pakistan is $7,376 billion and $882 billion respectively. India is 9th largest of the world in nominal method and 3rd largest economy in ppp method.Recommend

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